The Hazing (2004)
WRITER: Rolfe Kanefsky
DIRECTOR: Rolfe Kanefsky
STARRING: Philip Andrew as Doug
Charmaine Degrate as Justine
Jeremy Maxwell as Roy
Nectar Rose as Delia
Parry Shen as Tim
Tiffany Shepis as Marsha
David Tom as Jacob
Brooke Burke as Jill
Brad Dourif as Professor Kapps
QUICK CUT: On the night of their initiation, a bunch of college students get trapped in a house where the haunts become all too real, and they get tormented by Brad Dourif.
Tim - Surprisingly, our hero. He's a scaredy-cat who can't scream because of past damage, and generally just gets dragged along from place to place.
Delia - Your typical college party girl bimbo, only interested in sex, guys, and clothes. OR IS SHE?
Marsha - As dumb as Delia is, Marsha makes up for it, although she's a bit of a self-described bitch. Although it's more of a tough girl than the more overt bitchiness of the head of the sorority house.
Professor Kapps - A teacher of mythological studies at the local college all these students attend, but what no one knows is that he's actually a monk from a secret order of people trying to break the barrier between life and death. Or something. He's not very nice.
THE GUTS: The Hazing opens up with the credits running over some creepy images, and a monologue giving the gist of the plot, describing an ancient book by some dark monks that had the power to free the soul from death. A good use of screen time. I like when movies move the plot forward with the credits, instead of it just being names flickering by.
The opening monologue is being given by none other than Brad Dourif himself. We need more movies with him on this site. Someone get on that right away. Professor Kapps is telling a student of his all about this book, and she picks it up to ask him more. And the student is appropriately hot. So much for appropriate conduct between students and teachers.
Jill asks if there's any truth behind the artifacts in his collection, and he doesn't exactly answer her, but rather shows her one of the awesomest props ever; a staff made of a spine and topped off with a skull. Keep your eyes on this sucker, it's a plot point.
She steps away to get changed for a Halloween parade, and when Jill comes back in her harem girl outfit, the professor is nowhere to be found. Until he appears behind her and makes sure the back of her skull gets a good look at the staff. Ahh, nothing like titilation and a quick bludgeioning to kick off your horror movie.
We cut from Jill's final scream, to a blonde in a similar state of dress also screaming. This is where we meet the bulk of our cast, a group of pledges all dressed in bras, regardless of gender. Convenient that two houses are rushing their pledges together. Combining torture for the newbies, now that's efficiency.
The pledges are given their mission, which amounts to a treasure hunt for points to see if they get into their respective fraternity or sorority. Let the hazing begin! Wait, that happened ten minutes ago.
And the blonde bimbo gets instantly established by the frat leader complimenting her breasts. Oi. Anyways, once they have stolen or found all their crap, they are to head to the haunted house where they'll wait it out until morning and their final judgment.
We get a brief backstory on "Hack House", which amounts to the rich guy who owned it finding his wife with another man, hacking them to pieces, and hanging himself. Bam! Haunted house. You know, "Hack House" would be the good name for a reality series...
And with the gang of impending corpses put into their assigned costumes for the night, they are sent out into the world where they are likely to not survive until daybreak.
Ok, I get what most of these guys are supposed to be. We've got a wolfman, a devil, a not-quite Playboy bunny, the guy in camo at least has a skull mask, so I guess he's a zombie of some sort...but what is Marsha supposed to be? A biker? She has a mask, but it's just a plain plastic mask, straight out of Slegdehammer. I'm confused. And I'm surprised the hazers didn't find more embarassing costumes for everyone.
The team splits into two groups, so much for passing or failing as a whole, and go their seperate ways to try and get as many of the items on the list as possible. I love the nod to Bruce Campbell, with one of the items to find being a photo of him. If you're gonna do an homage to bad 80s horror, you gotta acknowledge the king.
The montage of collecting items is juuust about the right length. Any shorter would have felt like a cheat, and too much longer would have made it too clearly padding. They need to get the group to the house where the fun part of the movie really begins, as soon as possible. I almost wish they had taken a little more time though, since this could have been valuable character development space, but it mostly works. We do learn that Tim the devil is asthmatic, though. Which makes him our hero, doesn't it?
Remembering that there was another plot in this movie, one of the groups decide that they can guarantee they get into the fratority with one particular item, the book from earlier in the film. Hello, plot complication!
Marsha and Doug break into the professor's house, possibly more interested in its orgasmic powers, but maybe not. She wants to just find any old book and say it's the one, but that pesky Kapps has actually gone and described the darned thing to people.
Down in the basement, Marsha lurks through the labryntine halls, and discovers Jill's dead body. Oh, and Kapps himself in his monk robe, with glowing staff of doooom.
He's none too pleased to have his little satanic ritual interrupted, and chases Marsha back upstairs. She fails to close the basement door on him, but does get the next one. But since this is his house, he kinda knows his way around and Kapps appears behind her.
Doug arrives with the book, and tosses it to Marsha, while Kapps does his best to try and stop them. But all Kapps gets for his trouble is a giant horn through the chest.
Meanwhile, Delia, Tim, and Roy make it to Hack House (This fall on MTV!) and head inside to wait for the rest of their team. And let the creepy noises begin. At least they choose not to go poking the bear.
Of course, it's all being done by the respective leaders of the fraternity and sorority houses, since this IS a hazing movie, in theory. And they're bummed that their charges aren't quite dumb or brave enough to come investigate.
The other two arrive at the house, and Doug sees Marsha kept the book, which is actually kinda smart, what with fingerprints, but Doug would rather they get rid of the evidence, instead of tucking it under their arms all night long. He demands she toss it into the bushes, because he's the man and what he says goes. So he gets punched in the face. Girl power!
They all get together and tally up points, and have more than enough to get into their houses. If anyone reading cares. Delia wonders what they'll do to pass the time and Roy blurts out sex. Does he know what kind of movie he's in?
Surprisingly, Kapps is actually stable at the hospital, though still in a coma. All while the book in Doug's protective care is starting to glow red. That will make it harder to keep hidden.
The book starts to burn, as Kapps' spirit escapes his body and goes looking for his stuff. Doug tries to set the book on fire, but instead a fireball shoots out of the fireplace, stopping him. He drops the book, and it skitters away through a perfectly book-shaped hole in the wall. That's one heck of a coincidence.
Kapps' spirit finds the book in the basement, and uses it to keep the thieves and friends trapped inside Hack House. Damn, and just as they were about to get the beer, too. Professors ruin everything!
But we've now got a vengeful spirit, trapped kids in a haunted house, and otherworldy portals lurking in the backstory. Let the fun begin!
Since they know the house is just rigged up by their hazing overlords and have no fear, Delia and dogboy run off to have some sex, while Doug tries to find the evil book. He gets shut in the basement, and skeletal hands start reaching for him from out of the ground. But that part IS the hazers.
While the astral form of Kapps appears to Doug, and tries to tell him the plot, it's hilarious that Doug just stares blankly, until the professor realises the kid is utterly clueless. Great way to undercut the typical bad guy speech. And Dourif totally sells it.
Kapps preys upon this stupidity and gives Doug the book, telling him to read the spell that will open the gateway talked about at the start of the movie. Doug's unsure, but the spirit says it will make him go away, and that's good enough for the clueless dipwad.
I absolutely love that Doug can't read the Latin right. And it's made all the better by Brad Dourif's exasperated sigh as he directs the student to the English translation. Such a great scene that plays against type. And while it's funny, it seems to fit right in with the tone.
Doug gets paid for his stupidity once the back wall of the basement opens up on Doctor Who's time vortex, allowing the professor to come back into the world, and rip out Doug's heart, possessing his body. Good thing he didn't tear out his brain.
And now that someone has died, cue the sex scene between Delia and Doug. While they're going at it, Marsha and Tim are getting close, since she likes guys that aren't dipshits like the other two.
We get treated to some backstory from Tim, about how he was trapped in a closet thanks to the worst babysitter ever, and it made him afraid of the dark. Oh god, he's an asthmatic and a wussy. He IS our hero.
Jacob gets tired of sitting in the attic tormenting his charges, so decides to go for the personal touch with Doug, not realising he's possessed. But before that, Professor Doug decides to have fun with the two screwing like bunnies.
Delia is having a grand old time on her back, and Roy seems to be enjoying himself, but he soon notices things ain't quite right, and he pulls away from the girl. Sadly, his tongue likes it where it is, and decides to stay inside the girl. And in a scene that would make Freddy Krueger proud, the tongue grows to Gene Simmons like proportions.
She is completely oblivious to the snake poking around inside her, and Roy is too busy trying to wrestle with his tongue to, oh, I dunno, Say anything. Or make much noise. Anything to alert Delia to her being violated by a giant tongue. Instead, he decides the best option is to chew through his own tongue.
And once she finally sees Roy standing on the other side of the room, while the tongue is still going at it, that is when Delia finally notices something is wrong. Granted, she ain't supposed to be that bright, but c'mon.
This is of course the perfect moment for Justine to burst in to try and scare them, but unfortauntely, they're too busy being scared by REAL demonic things, and can't be bothered to get worked up over a chainsaw right now.
Roy actually has a half-decent idea and grabs that chainsaw, using it to stab the living tongue with it. Although, since it's clearly an autonomous thing that shouldn't be alive in the first place, I'm not sure that would do anything. But points for effort. And more points for buckets of blood spurting from the tongue.
After trying to scare the possessed Doug, Jordan heads back to the command center and fondles the stolen mannequin they have laying around, since he thinks Justine left it there to scare him. And that's when it starts moving, but that doesn't go anywhere.
Once the darts start flying though, Jordan gets worried for real, and runs off to try and find anyone. All he finds is a floating balloon that escaped the set of IT. He bursts it with the dart that poked him, and a giant lawn dart flies out and stabs him in the forehead in retaliation.
And with all this going on, Tim and Marsha just continue to sit around the fire BSing, oblivious to the screams. Nice. But at least it gives them some character moments, and romantic tension to play off of later.
Tim is about to have the best night of his life, but it's time to remind him that he is in a horror movie, and the Knapps-possessed Doug arrives to toss a wrench into things just as Tim's about to be kissed.
We get everyone still alive in the same place, and accusations fly back and forth, since Justine is supposed to be behind everything, and people think they've gone too far. Delia has enough of the yelling, and tells everyone to shut up.
And thus we hit one of the bigger character turns ever. Delia sounds different, and she's definitely taking charge. Everyone stares at the supposed bimbo in shock, and she explains that the airhead thing was all an act, because guys like it. I gotta say, I like yanking that rug out from under people. This movie plays with expecatations, and that's a good reveal, and gives the character more to do than just stand around and look pretty. It's some huge character development for this sort of movie, and way unexpected to have Delia not be whom she has claimed to be.
Now that everyone's together, they want Justine to unlock the doors, but we all know she didn't do that, nor did Jordan. Marsha wants to know who did, and the greatness continues with Kapps in the background raising his hand, and no one notices. Love it.
Justine goes off to find Jordan and get the keys so the guy spurting blood from his tongue can get to a hospital before he bleeds out, taking Tim with her for company and protection. Or possibly to shove in the way of any incoming demons and get away while he's devoured.
Marsha tries to find out what happened to Roy's tongue, but Doug interrupts with a guilt trip over killing Kapps. Marsha wants him to just shut up, and the professor got what he deserved. Since he IS Kapps, he doesn't like hearing that, and starts to torment the girl by, uh, dancing with her. Really fast.
Doug changes, ever so slightly, which means he gets bushier eyebrows, while they spin. He stops suddenly and throws Marsha across the room. This was more laughable than scary, sadly. The overacting, the silly makeup and effects. Shame.
He redeems himself somewhat when he threatens Delia with his evil tongue, and Roy runs off. He quickly returns with the chainsaw for round two, waving it in the air, and yelling incoherently. I love that they even poke fun at that, with Kapps as Doug unable to understand Roy's blathering.
DougKapps blocks the rushing chainsaw with a guitar that was stolen for the scavenger hunt, and makes the best weapon they had fly into the fireplace and go up in smoke.
Doug uses his magical ability to summon bungee cord from nowhere and tie Roy down to a chair, as the women duck for cover. Roy gets his own turn at spinning around and exits the movie when Doug throws the captive dogboy across the room and into the stolen detour sign, decapitating the poor guy.
The girls try and sort things out, and get a handy axe Jordan left behind to protect themselves. Speaking of Jordan, Justine and Tim try to find him in the control room, but all they find there is the mannequin. Justine thinks it moved, and after Tim pokes it with his trident, and just rolls his eyes at the scared girl, leaves her alone with the thing.
Justine double checks, poking its chest, and then hears the mannequin's voice in her head, begging her not to stop. Great, it's a plastic pervert. Anyways, she stupidly leans in close, and the mannequin grabs her in a loving embrace.
She gets in a shouting match with the mannequin, and when she thumps her chest defiantly, all she hears is a hollow thunk, as her own body begins to change to match her new lover's.
While Justine's hand becomes solid plastic, the other two girls stumble through the dark house, trying to find anyone or anything useful. Instead they find the completely transformed Justine, standing motionless at the top of the stairs. They assume it's just another trick, and push the mannequin down the stairs, where she shatters to tiny pieces. Ooops.
Tim finds his way back downstairs, looking for the girls who are where he was. Somehow they passed each other on the way and completely missed seeing them. He hears Marsha's voice calling out, and goes to find the girls.
Instead, all he finds is Doug, whom Tim doesn't know is evil. He tries to scare Tim, but I'm sorry. Old age makeup isn't that scary, no matter how quickly you apply it!
Tim can't quite manage to man up, and is about to buy it, when Delia and Marsha show up and introduce the professor to their axe.
The girls catch Tim up on the whole plot, and he wonders if the professor can possess someone else now that Doug is dead, something they hadn't considered. And Doug hilariously pops back up for one last moment, made all the funnier by the axe bobbing out of his skull.
Kapps' spirit escapes and rushes off, leaving the trio to wonder who, if anyone, he has chosen to possess now. Let the paranoia begin. Again.
The girls both try to go for the axe to protect themselves, and end up fighting over it. Tim instead grabs the handle, and instead of pulling it out, pulls Doug's entire head off, and uses it threateningly.
Marsha gives a rousing speech about how the whole point of this night was to pull together as a team, and they've not done that, making them only kill their friends. She thinks they all need to come together for a hug, and that isn't suspicious at all.
Surprise! She's possessed! As you can tell once she has Brad Dourif's eyebrows. At least she didn't get his moustache as well. I like that the newly ensmartened Delia picks up on the suspiciousness as well.
MarshaKapps runs off, and as the house succumbs to a mystical earthquake, Tim and Delia get seperated, leaving the wussboy to try and find his own way out with half an axe handle.
Delia shows back up, armed to the teeth, and looking about as badass as one can look in a white corset and fishnets. At least she lost the ears. She's sure they just have to make it 'til morning, when Halloween ends, and Tim is even more clueless, so goes along with the plan.
They decide to look for the book, but it seems Marsha has found it first, which puts a crimp in their plans to end this night before dawn.
Kapps takes the book, and explains that it was all part of his plan to be killed, and make someone read the passage, freeing his soul. And once the book has been tossed into the fire, there will soon be nothing that can stop him.
As the book burns, Kapps' real body starts to die, hoping to escape this film and this mortal coil. His spirit in Marsha's body starts slashing at Delia's clothes, because he feels she's not wearing little enough already. But at the hospital, the doctors are trying to revive the dying murderer, making it difficult for him to hold onto Marsha's body.
The doctors' efforts actually manage to save the murderer, pulling his spirit back to where it belongs, and Marsha is free once more. But Kapps fights back, and has some of the more creative uses for defib paddles I've seen. I don't even want to think about what one of those to the nuts would REALLY do.
He then takes out that pesky doctor trying to save him by shocking him in the brain, and anyone else in the room, just for kicks.
The nearby police rush in to see what all that screaming is about, and find the professor's little killing spree scattered around with crispy heads, and needles jabbed into eyes. More than willing to die, Kapps goes after the cop with a scalpel, and gets several Kapps busted in him. And *cough* you can see the sparks from one of the squibs going off underneath his hospital gown. Oops.
Back at Hack House (Now on three nights a week!) the gang are trying to leave, but only Delia gets out the door before the professor dies and returns to finish what he started. And since he liked having breasts, he takes over Marsha's body again.
Thanks to having an old man in her panties, Marsha knows the only way to stop the professor is to close the gateway that Doug stupidly opened, but they need the staff to do that. Fortunately, that's outside the locked house, in their car...oh wait. Well, Delia's outside at least.
Marsha wakes up, and says she doesn't have the professor inside her, and tells Tim she wishes they could have finished what they were in the middle of at the fireplace. Tim acts like a typical guy and totally buys it when Marsha says that love might be the one thing that can stop Kapps' spirit.
Fortunately it turns out Tim isn't a complete moron though, and cracks the thing over the head with a fireplace poker, although not before she has a chance to get naked. Nice of him to wait until after the girl took her clothes off. Now that he has been revealed, Kapps uses Tim's fear against him, and plunges the house into darkness.
He runs for the basement, since the portal is putting out more light than an LCD monitor, but Marsha follows. Tim begs her to fight back, force the professor out, and it seems to be working. But instead we just get the professor pulling a fart gag on us. I'm kinda torn. I like pulling a fast one with the oh-so-cliche 'force him out!' thing going wrong, but a fart gag? Really? Ah well.
Fortunately, Delia returns and clonks Kapps over the head with his own staff. Man, this guy gets beat up with his own stuff way too much. Kapps makes the skull topper drool blood, making the girl drop it because it's icky. He tries to force the bunny through the portal, and gets a little help from a tonguey friend.
Tim finally manages to scream, something he's not been able to do since he was trapped in that closet years ago, and I'll spare any coming out of the closet jokes here. It's a bit of a weak thing to get over and be the big turning point for the forces of good, but again, a decent enough character moment which can be too few in these movies.
But the scream is all the distraction they need. While Kapps is taunting Tim for finally learning to scream, it gives Delia the time she needs to throw Marsha through the portal. Kapps real body leaps back out as Tim tries to figure out how to make the staff work and close the door.
Not sure how to make it work, he at least manages to use it as a club, smashing the professor repeatedly, driving him back into the portal. Once Kapps is across the threshold, Tim uses the staff to smash the doorway's edge, and that somehow does the trick.
The movie should be over, now that the portal has even conveniently put the bricks back in place over the hole, but they disappear again, so Marsha can be spat back out, and Tim can have a happy ending. Pff, he coulda got it on with the bimbo bunny.
And again, this should be where it ends, with a few quips, and credits rolling, and Tim walking off into the sunrise with two hot babes. They poke fun at him being a computer geek, which he's not, and the movie's unofficial motto of, "Fuck stereotypes!" gets blurted out. Another moment I don't think they quite earned, since they never really set up Tim as a nerd, just a bit of a wuss. Wrap up already!
But uh oh, the door won't open! And there are voices! Looks like the house really was haunted. Or it is NOW, thanks to the portal. Good going, guys. So at last the movie mercifully ends with the trio fighting off the ghosts of Hack House (Cancelled after three weeks!), and left rather ambiguous as to what just happens and who wins. What a way to close out.
Video: Bleah. This is not a well-made DVD. The video is overly compressed, and to top it off, they take the widescreen and add the black bars to make it fill a small 4:3 screen size, making the quality suffer even more. I really hate when movies do that with fake widescreen. Well, it's real widescreen, they're not matting it and covering things up...it's hard to explain without seeing it! It sucks, that's all!!
Audio: A decent enough stereo mix, better than you would expect from the video. Everyone is easy to hear, and things flow well from right to left and back. As always, full surround is always preferred, but for what it is...
Special Features: A double dose of commentaries, which I saw so long ago I don't remember a lick of them. But for a movie with two commentaries, if you can find the disc cheap, it's hard to go wrong.
First Blood: Jill buys it six minutes in when she gets cracked over the head with the skull staff.
Best Corpse: There's a fair amount of good corpses in this movie, but I'm going to go with Roy's sign decapitation because it was so well done. But Justine's mannequin body shattering at the base of the stairs is VERY close. What a way to go!
Sound Bite: "The book is evil!" "And it will be punished. We'll all take turns spanking it later." Doug and Roy.
Blood Type - A: Lots of blood, good effects, and very worthy of the sort of movie this is, and well done for the budget. Very nice.
Sex Appeal: Pretty much everyone gets topless in this movie for some length of time. Even Brad Dourif! Something for everyone!
Movie Rating: Well...it's goofy. The acting can be dodgy. It's low budget. But the plot is coherent, and the plot holes are few and understandable, for the most part. It does veer into camp territory pretty frequently though, but if you don't take it too seriously, it's a well-enough made horror flick. Four out of five decapitated heads.
Entertainment Value: Ok, I'll admit it. I kinda love this movie. I picked it up because it looked pretty cheesy, and I was pleasently surprised. It is so very much in the vein of classic 80s slasher college kid movies. It would be right at home if it had come out 25 years ago. It is a modern take on the genre, and pretty much succeeds to nail the vibe it was going for. It's a fun ride, the jokes are good, the blood is great, and there is a few genuine moments of heart, of character, and actual turns that you don't immediately see coming. Some of the moments aren't fully earned, but they're still so rare in most horror movies that even poorly done ones raise the bar with The Hazing. Rolfe Kanefsky has done two other movies I've already looked at, and while those are fun in their own right, this is by far my favourite of the three, and one of the more watchable movies on this site, but not without plenty to laugh at and with. Five out of five awesome skull staffs.
Yes, that's right, this movie is damned near perfect guilty pleasure entertainment.